Photo of a mother and daughter making wishes as they prepare to launch their Krathong during the Loi Krathong festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand on November 11, 2019 by Bryon Lippincott
A mother and daughter make wishes as they prepare to launch their Krathong during the Loi Krathong festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand on November 11, 2019

Every year Thailand celebrates Loi Krathong, a festival where small floating baskets, called Krathongs, are floated on the rivers as a way of making wishes.

My daughter was invited to hang out with friends at the festival, so after she met up with her friends I spent the evening wandering the streets with a friend to take photos. I’ve lived here in Chiang Mai for two years now and this was the first time I have ever observed the Loi Krathong part of the festival. As we walked I realized it is a family event where families get together to launch their small Krathongs on the rivers or in the moat that surrounds the old city here in Chiang Mai.

It’s a time for family to get together and celebrate. I had always associated this festival with another part of the festival the Yi Peng Festival where paper lanterns are launched into the sky like miniature hot air baloons, but this year I realized that these two activities represent two different traditions. This year I really enjoyed seeing the focus on family and being together. As a tourist or foreigner, it is easy to see these festivals as one and focus on the beauty of the lanterns in the night sky and miss the real humanity and meaning of the festival.

Before the Krathongs can be launched, incense is lit and prayers are offered.

Photo of a father lighting the incense on his daughters Krathong with a small candle in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the Loi Krathong Festival on November 11, 2019 by Bryon Lippincott
A father lighting the incense on his daughters Krathong with a small candle.
Photo of a man offering a prayer before launching his Krathong  in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the Loi Krathong Festival on November 11, 2019 by Bryon Lippincott
a man offering a prayer before launching his Krathong in
Photo of a woman offering a prayer before launching her Krathong in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the Loi Krathong Festival on November 11, 2019 by Bryon Lippincott
A woman offering a prayer before launching her Krathong.
A modern addition to an ancient tradition, taking a selfie with your Krathong before launching it.in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the Loi Krathong Festival on November 11, 2019 by Bryon Lippincott
A modern addition to an ancient tradition, taking a selfie with your Krathong before launching it.
  in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the Loi Krathong festival on November 11, 2019 by photographer Bryon Lippincott
A woman reflecting and making a wish before launching her Krathong.
Photo of woman preparing to launch her Krathong into the moat in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the Loi Krathong festival on November 11, 2019 by photographer Bryon Lippincott
A woman preparing to launch her Krathong into the moat
Photo of a boy gently pushing is Krathong out into the water in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the Loi Krathong festival on November 11, 2019 by photographer Bryon Lippincott
A boy gently pushing is Krathong out into the water
Photo of a mother and daughter launching a krathong made of banana leaves onto the moat in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the Loi Krathong Festival on November 11, 2019 by Bryon Lippincott
A mother and daughter launching the baskets make of banana leaves onto the moat in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Photo of a woman splashing water with her hand to move her Krathong away from shore in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the Loi Krathong festival on November 11, 2019 by photographer Bryon Lippincott
Woman splashing water with her hand to move her Krathong away from shore.
Photo of Krathongs floating on the moat in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the Loi Krathong festival on November 11, 2019 by photographer Bryon Lippincott
Krathongs floating on the moat in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the Loi Krathong festival.

Thousands of small candles are lit all around the city during the festival as well.

Photo of small candles burning during the Loi Krathong festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand  on November 11, 2019 by photographer Bryon Lippincott
Photo of small candles burning during the Loi Krathong festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand  on November 11, 2019 by photographer Bryon Lippincott
Photo of women lighting candles and placing them at the local Buddhist Wat during the Loi Krathong festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand  on November 11, 2019 by photographer Bryon Lippincott
Women lighting candles and placing them at the local Buddhist Wat.